Monday, February 14, 2005


Robin Wright's analysis in this piece is so bad it is hard to believe it was published.

But it does at least answer the question I had of what the anti-war side would complain about since the Iraq elections went off well. Before, the elections were so important that we had to postpone them until we could bribe the Sunnis to participate. Otherwise, we were warned, disaster loomed.

But now, Wright tells us, we are horrified at who won the elections. Notwithstanding the administration's heralding of the results, it is a disaster:

But, in one of the greatest ironies of the U.S. intervention, Iraqis instead went to the polls and elected a government with a strong religious base -- and very close ties to the Islamic republic next door. It is the last thing the administration expected from its costly Iraq policy -- $300 billion and counting, U.S. and regional analysts say.

Amazingly, Wright tells us that the Kurds who did throw flowers to welcome us and the Shias who fought and died to keep the Persians at bay in the 1980s are actually friendly to Iran and will work against our interests. Somehow, though we said our aim was to overthrow the minority Baathist Sunnis who killed and terrorized the majority Shias and Kurds, the fact that the Shias and Kurds have won a free election has to be a shock to us. Just who, pray tell, did we expect to win? The Vermont chapter of the League of Women Voters?

And amazingly, the fact that three-quarters of the assembly will belong to two slates is shocking and a sign of disaster. Senator Jeffords, I guess, is lucky his defection from his party means our Senate is only 99% dominated by two parties.

All is not lost, apparently:

Adel Abdul Mahdi, who is a leading contender to be prime minister, reiterated yesterday that the new government does not want to emulate Iran. "We don't want either a Shiite government or an Islamic government," he said on CNN's "Late Edition." "Now we are working for a democratic government. This is our choice."

And a senior State Department official said yesterday that the 48 percent vote won by the Shiite slate deprives it of an outright majority. "If it had been higher, the slate would be seen with a lot more trepidation," he said on the condition of anonymity because of department rules.

U.S. and regional analysts agree that Iraq is not likely to become an Iranian surrogate. Iraq's Arabs and Iran's Persians have a long and rocky history. During the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, Iraq's Shiite troops did not defect to Iran.

Nonetheless, Wright judges all this to be bad and we accept the results only because the US "has no choice." Well, sure, Robin. The elections were free. What were we supposed to do? And the results are just fine for us.

Wright starts off with Iranian puppet masters, then denies the Iraqis would be Iranian stooges, and finally concludes that the results are bad but we don't have any choice but to accept the results. What a load of crud. But you can't really blame Ms. Wright when you notice that the esteemed Middle East expert, Professor Juan Cole (he speaks Arabic, you know!) is prominently quoted to support the Iranian puppet-master angle. When you input garbage, you get garbage as a result.

As they say, Juan In, Juan Out.